We are always trying to find the best way to preserve a nice bottle of wine that we didn’t finish. You can just put the cork back in but the wine usually won’t taste that good the next day. Or, you can use a vacuum stopper where you pump some of the air out of the bottle or maybe an inert gas or some combination of the previous items. They all have their pros and cons and everyone has their favorite.
Now there is another device to preserve what is left of that nice bottle of wine for another day. It is called Wine Shield and was invented in Australia. It is a food safe and BPA free plastic disc made with some air bubbles so it floats on the surface of the wine. When you pour a glass it moves with the surface of the wine so it doesn’t plug the neck of the bottle but always covers the wine when the bottle is sitting upright. The disk shields most of the surface of the wine from the air in the bottle. It is supposed to fit about 80% of the bottles out there.
We were sent some samples to test and I wanted to really compare it well with the vacuum stoppers I currently use. It is easy to use, it comes in a plastic pack open at each end and an insertion tool like a big pair of tweezers. Just slide the tool in the pack, give a twist to roll it into a tube and push down in the bottle. You can reuse them if desired although you will have to fish it out through the neck of the bottle with some tweezers.
I decided to buy three bottles from the same case of an inexpensive Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon for the test. Three of us tasted each bottle and compared notes to be sure all three bottles tasted the same when first opened, they did. I made sure each bottle had the same amount of wine remaining for the next day. One I just corked, one I pumped out the air and the third I used the Wine Shield in.
The next evening we tried all three wines again. Here is where the test started falling apart. You know how a wine sometimes looses it fruit or tastes a little oxidized the next day. Well sometimes you find a wine that actually is better the next day, it just needed a long decanting. This wine was that way, it was actually better in all three bottles. Oh well, we decided to continue the test for four more days anyway. I’ll have to say it was somewhat inconclusive. The Wine Shield was certainly as good as the vacuum stopper but the wine that had just been corked each day was still drinkable, though I wouldn’t really want to drink much of it!
I decided I needed to pursue a different approach. I opened a bottle of a fairly nice Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, one I knew well. We had about 2/3 of the bottle and I put in the Wine Shield. The next evening we had another couple of glass, it was still very good. There was only about one serving left in the bottle so I decided to leave it for a third day.
On the third evening I had that final glass. The wine was surprisingly good still. It appeared the Wine Shield worked pretty good. From previous experience I don’t think the vacuum stopper would have been as good.
I’ll do some more testing as I open new bottles to drink and if the results are significantly different I’ll update this post. I am convinced that the Wine Shield works at least as well as the vacuum stopper if not better, however.
I also found an interesting test Jim Louderback did on CorkZilla using both the Wine Shield and Private Preserve inert gas together. He said he got better result together than either by itself. That makes sense but would be an expensive way to do it.
Conclusion: Works as well or better than the vacuum stopper. More convenient? Maybe, depends on your personal preference. I think the ideal use is in a restaurant or bar. The bartenders may not alway remember to pump the bottles with vacuum stoppers when they finish up at night, it is pretty late you know. However, just insert a Wine Shield in the bottle when it is first opened and don’t worry about it after that. It’s certainly worth trying out yourself just to see if it works as well for you.